Monday, September 18, 2006


Goa!

Goa conjures up images of the sun, sand and sea. For many Mumbaikars, it is the idyllic getaway; the perfect antidote to the city’s traffic and noise, pollution and dirt. Goa is where Mumbai goes to refresh its soul, to recover from the daily fast-paced grind of big-city life. They say time itself moves slowly in Goa; almost the antithesis of Mumbai, where everyone seems to be in a terrible rush. It is almost a cliché – Goa is Mumbai’s alter-ego.

Over the years I have lived in Mumbai, I have had innumerable people tell me of their definitive Goa – the no-name shack that serves the best prawn balchao, the perfect hidden-away beach, the seaside café that serves the best apple pie, that little corner shop where you can buy the best grass in town. Each time I have heard this, I have listened to it with a bit of impatience. After all, I had been to Goa a handful of times and I had not discovered the magic of the place. Blame it on my indifference to beaches, the office conferences that have taken me there or the plain inability on my part to laze around on a holiday (shouldn’t we be making the most of a holiday, seeing as many sights as possible, doing as many things we can?), but all these descriptions of Goa were to me just plain clichés. Wouldn’t I much rather see Mandu’s historic forts than taste the local Goan beer?

But then, a weekend trip (coz of an office picnic) this Saturday showed me a glimpse of the Goa I had never before discovered. Lazing around on a beach shack with King’s beer and the fresh catch of the day, driving around through its leafy quiet by-lanes, taking a leisurely walk up to Vagadore fort to see the most amazing views of the Goa coastline (Dil Chahta Hai showcased it memorably), stumbling upon an unexpected flea market on one of the many beaches, sipping cashew feni and eating goan sausages while listening to the waves crash on the shore… maybe, I think, Goa is not over-hyped. Maybe the thousands of Mumbaikars who flock to Goa at every possible opportunity have a point. Maybe there is a point in just ‘being’ in Goa. Maybe, just maybe, as a copy writer colleague once put it, ‘There is a Goan in everyone’. Maybe there is a Goan in even me.

2 comments:

UL said...

Being a beach bum once a year is real good fun. It is relaxing to do absolutely nothing for a change. To be lazy without care is marvelous. And it works well with a group. Be it friends or family. We started that routine a couple of years ago, and it stuck, it can get addictive. One beach is the same as another, but still there’s some sort of attraction. Rent a cottage, cook, and gossip, watch sunrises, play and relax. Good food and drink. Or fast food and junk. Who cares? Getting tipsy and being merry, loads of fun. Even better as a group. A different type of holiday from running round seeing sites. Oh yeah, there’s a lazy bum in every one of us, no doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

bah - just an overpriced village overrun by white trash...try ulan bator